Over the last several months we ran our first ever Mat and Reformer Pilates Teacher Training program. As we prepare and open up registration for the 2017-2018 360 Hour program (kicking off this Fall), we sat down with three of the students from our inaugural session. We hope that as they share their personal experiences with the program and feelings of starting to teach, it might provide some insight and answer questions for those considering diving into our Pilates Teacher Training program themselves.
The following is part one of two of this question and answer session with our students. Stay tuned for part two, and a chat with studio director Julia Wyncoll coming soon.
Our first Q&A session will be held on July 13th. Read on for more information.
What drew you to Pilates Teacher Training?
Sarah Fregeau: Well I’ve been practicing Pilates for almost 10 years. I’m a professional dancer and it was recommended to me by a chiropractor that I do some Pilates training while I was in my post secondary training for dance and it had a huge impact on my own physicality and the way that I worked muscularly and my ability to avoid and heal injuries that I experienced in my dance work. I was already quite drawn to the practice personally and it had had a big impact on my own body. I was looking for something to become a parallel alongside my dance work and it just made sense with my interest in the body that I would pursue this.
Sheri Kimura: A really good friend, my climbing partner and one of my best friends knew that I had been looking for a career change and that I love teaching, and that I love movement, so she suggested that I try it, and I thought it was really awesome, from the first lesson that I took. I did one lesson, one private lesson and then I was like, okay I think this could be something. I believe in the work, the work seemed like there was a lot of integrity, a lot of information, and based in some really good theory.
(aside) Had you done much Pilates before?
SK: No, none, zero. I had done like maybe some bits in a mat class here and there, but otherwise no.
Julia Alpin: I’m a mitzvah teacher, which I work with alignment and posture and awareness, and I do a lot of work on a massage table, and I train people to sit and stand properly. So, I was kind of at a point with that work, that I was looking for more input, and more community and more connections and just new ideas to help feed what I’m doing. So that’s one of the reasons. The other reason is that when I was a dancer, I worked full-time as a dancer and our artistic director brought in Diane Miller to teach us Pilates because his work was very difficult and very physical, and the Pilates work that she taught us made everything possible. So I know how amazing Pilates is, and how it can really help people to be in their bodies in a balanced and aligned way. So the combination of those two things brought me here.
What was your favourite part of the training?
SK: I think the modules themselves. Getting into the reformer work was exciting, like getting on the equipment, and all that stuff, that was cool. But actually just being in the studio for an intensive Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and just focusing in on just the work. I really enjoyed those weekends.
SF: There were probably a couple things that I would say, but the one thing that I really appreciate about this program is that the modules were spaced out over four or five months, so we had quite a bit of time in between modules to let all of the information be taking in. Because it’s a lot of information. To allow it to sink in. Absorb it. Have time to actually see the things that we had spoke about in people’s bodies in classes while we were doing our observations. I felt like I absorbed more of it that way than I would have had it been a month long intensive with all of the information at once.
JA: I guess connecting with other people. Connecting with other movers. People who are curious about the body, and the way the body moves, and all of those connections to ourselves and to each other, that’s been really amazing.
What was your biggest takeaway from the program?
SF: I guess I could say my biggest takeaway from the program is learning how to look at the body from the outside rather than the inside. Being a professional dancer, my experience is very personal and relates to my own body, which I know very well and I have quite a deep awareness of. But to start to develop the skill to look at someone else’s body and be able to figure out why something may be happening, why something is working or not working for them is a completely different skillset. I think that the development of that strength is probably a main thing for me.
SK: Ooh that’s a tough question! When I went into it, it was about teaching movement, it was about teaching, and you know being with people, and being in a career that I believed in, being in an industry that I believe in, but it actually became more about the fact that as a teacher you can show people what they CAN do. A lot of life we focus on what we CAN’T do. You go to the doctor, and you get told what you shouldn’t do. You go to certain kinds of fitness classes and you feel like you cannot do some things. But it seems to me that Pilates, when it’s taught really well, highlights what you can do. Then that translates into the rest of your life. It translates into how you move on a day to day basis. So I think my biggest takeaway is, that as a teacher my goal is going to be to teach people what their bodies are capable of doing. What the potential is. And then how to embody that everyday, everywhere. It’s a lofty goal but that’s kind of the bigger picture.
Schedule your one on one meeting or sign up for our first information session happening July 13th by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org